Thursday, February 26, 2015

Things are about to change! / Week #39

Konnichiwa minasan!!
How was everyone`s week? Mine was pretty super! This whole transfer has probably been the best transfer ever on my mission. I love my area, my companion, my district, and the members and investigators we have here. (And I love our Eikaiwa students a lot.) I feel Iike I am finally getting a handle on missionary work. So I was feeling totally good about life and I wanted to stay in Tsuboi forever. Or at least for one more transfer with Pinzon shimai until she dies (goes home).
So Friday night I got the biggest shock of my life when the APs called Magalogo shimai to tell her she is training. And then they asked to speak to me and told me "Malone Shimai! How`s it going? Sounds like things are going great there! So we are just calling to tell you that this next transfer you will be...training!" And when he said those words my stomach dropped about a mile and I had a hard time hearing everything else he said about travel plans for the Trainer`s training meeting on Monday so I had to ask him one more time. So I am training. This Thursday I will get a bean chan. And to say I feel underqualified and insufficient does not begin to describe how I feel right now. I still feel like I do not understand Nihongo well enough to train somebody else, but shoganai.
The only thing that was making this better is that Magalogo shimai is also training. So of course we went through all of the scenarios in our head. Are we both staying and Pinzon shimai and Carvalho shimai are out? Is one of us leaving and the other staying? Either way I don`t get to spend next transfer with Pinzon shimai which we were both really bummed about. And maybe cried over.
So Monday I went with Magalogo shimai to Fukuoka for trainer`s training meeting. And it was actually really good. It made me feel better about taking some other missionary`s life into my hands. I can do this. I know the area pretty well even after just one transfer there. I can continue with out investigators and take over for Pinzon shimai. Yeah...
Then Kaicho proceeded to tell all the trainers where they will be training at. And he told Magalogo shimai she will be staying in Shimizu to train. And that`s when I knew I would not be staying. So he then told me I am transferring to Kumamoto with my bean. And I maybe felt like crying in that moment, but I didn`t because you can`t break down in front of 10 elders, the APs, and Kaicho just because he tells you you are transferring. So I am going to a brand new area where I don`t know anything and I will have a brand new missionary to train. Yippee!
The silver lining to this is that Kumamoto is still in the same zone as Tsuboi so I will still get to see everyone every once in a while. And I only have to haul my luggage like 20 minutes over to Kumamoto. I will be living with the Nagamine sisters so I will still be in a 4 man apartment. Yay for friends!
So sorry for the dramatic story. I promise I`ll stop now. It`s just some big changes that are happening that are going to require a lot of faith on my part. And apparently Heavenly Father thinks I`m up to the test, which he knows everything so I can`t really debate this.
I still do not know who I am training. I won`t know that until tomorrow night. So stay tuned for who my new companion will be!
Other than that, our week really has been great. We taught the Noguchi couple again, and Murata san, and Emi. (Not the Okinawa Emi).
We had challenged Murata san to pray last time and she told us she prays about 3 days a week both morning and night. We were totally happy to hear that! So we asked her how she feels when she prays and she says she gets a warm feeling and a grateful feeling. So we told her she`s feeling the Holy Ghost! So she asked some really good questions about the Holy Ghost and we were able to explain about him in more detail. Then we talked about faith and how it requires us to act and take that first step and then we will see the miracles, or receive our answer (Ether 12:6). I think it was a big step in the right direction for her.
We taught Emi the rest of the Plan of Salvation this week. I think it went really well and maybe is making Emi think about her life in a different way than before. I always love teaching the Plan of Salvation to people. I love helping them see that God has a plan for them and that he is aware of them. I love showing them why Christ`s Atonement is so important for everyone. Yukimatsu san also came to the lesson because they are friends. He`s actually the elders investigator and he`s been taught the Plan of Salvation before. He`s also Chinese so his English is better than his Japanese. So we would switch between Japanese and English to teach both Emi and Yukimatsu. It was fun. Good thing the Spirit speaks every language so we bore our testimonies at the end and know that either way they can feel it.
Well sorry this is such a long email. Changes are hard, but that`s also when the miracles come so I`m expecting some pretty awesome miracles this next transfer! Like me understanding Japanese:)
Have a great week everyone!
Malone Shimai

Us with Satoru san!  Yanagida choro & Kazuki san in the background.

Finally!  I'm preaching the gospel to Kato...

I think he wants a Book of Mormon too!

The view outside our apartment - Kumamoto Tsuboi

The Swag Team - I love them so much!!

Us with Kouzuma Shimai

We went out for Okonomiyaki - So delicious - 
Always get it Hiroshima style - That's all I have to say!

Ka san's Baptism!!

My kanji - I could have multiple kanjis but this is the one the Swag Team gave me
It's cool...trust me!! 

Kanji for the Matsunaga's.  Duane should be proud of me!

Oshima choro & Kazuki san - They are so stylin! We gave them some of our clothes.
The fact that Kazuki fits perfectly into my cardigan doesn't bother me at all--nope!

Our district is so weird!

Us again!

                                                        Dinner at the Kishi's -
                                                        Sorry it's kind of blurry.

My first trip to the train station! (No...it wasn't the Shink!)

Before getting on the train 

We had to mark the moment of my first train ride!

Look who it is....Elder Ho, we meet again!!

Shimai-tachi training meeting

We took this pic for the Tsuboi choro-tachi (Elders)
They were feeling down

Me & Magalogo Shimai on our way back from training.
I was very tired and maybe a little stressed but it's ok!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The most romantic Valentines Day ever!...did not happen to me. Because I`m a missionary, and that would be bad / Week #38

Konnichiwa minasan!!
This week was awesome! I think I write that every week. Sorry I`m not more original! Also sorry about the rant about cold weather last week. It`s actually better already. I think my prayers are being answered.
So this week we had Elder Whiting from the Area Presidency come and speak to us. Of course, it was awesome. He had a Q&A session where we could ask him anything (within reason) and we ended up talking about authority and power. This is something I`ve never really thought about before. As missionaries, we are set apart or given the authority to preach the gospel. But that does not mean we automatically preach with power. That comes with time (I think) and obedience and a whole bunch of other things. So we learned from awesome missionaries like Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and Nephi and Lehi, how to teach with both authority and power. So that`s a new goal we have! To teach with power from the Spirit!
Update on Satoru san, he came to FHE on Monday and had a really great time! He also came to another shokuji (meal) we had at a members house last night. He told us in the car ride back that he`s been reading a little from the Book of Mormon and then proceeds to tell us about Nephi building a boat or when he needs to get the plates from Laban. Yeah I would say he`s reading. The only downside is he had to cancel our appointment tonight because of work. This was going to be our first official lesson at the church. But we`re not worried because he`s already met several members and just has this natural desire to learn more. He`s awesome!
We also taught the Noguchi`s this week about faith and the Word of Wisdom because they always have questions about it. We challenged them to keep the Word of Wisdom because Noguchi san likes to drink sake. They agreed to follow it! But we checked back with them on Friday and they said they hadn`t kept it. So we are going to encourage them and try to help build their faith in our next lesson!
We also had a really good lesson with Emi this week. We practiced some English, and then we taught her the first half of the Plan of Salvation. It`s nice teaching to Emi because she understands we`re not perfect teachers, but she listens really well and answers our questions. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation to people. I think it`s my favorite lesson (not that I have favorites!) We challenged her to read some scriptures and write her thoughts about what she thinks the purpose of life is.
We still did a lot of finding with the Spirit this week! One night was awesome. We found like 3 potential investigators all in one area. We still haven`t been able to meet up with Midori san or Sugita san. But we are being patient, and we know that there will be a time when they will be able to come to an activity or do a lesson and then they will be kinjin!!
As for my Valentines Day I am proud to say nobody asked to be my Valentine. And we only received chocolates from Sister Magalogo and Sister Carvalho. We were supposed to go to an ice skating activity with the Eikaiwa students but since not many showed up and all of them were male we decided it would be more effective to go finding! I hope everyone`s Valentines Day was just as successful!
Have a great week! Don`t freeze! Or die from nice weather!
Malone Shimai

Kumamoto City

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Um...it`s cold / Week #37

Konnichiwa minasan!
This week was really good actually. Aside from one thing. It`s freezing!! I can`t take it. I wasn`t made to handle these temperatures. I`m pretty sure when Heavenly Father made me he intended me to be born in California. Oh wait, I was. And that`s why I can`t handle Utah weather, or Kumamoto weather. I wear 3 pairs of tights and biking shorts and a bulky sweater and coat and gloves and I`m still cold. I think I would`ve died in Ukraine. But anyways, my frozen toes are not what`s important here.
So another cool finding story! We made another appointment with God. We chose the area we wanted to go to and Pinzon shimai said she wanted to find a young medical student. So we set out to go to the area we had chosen, but on the way there I had this feeling that maybe we should go somewhere else, back to the area we were in before when we found Satoru san. But I ignored it because I thought it was just me being silly. But when we got to the area we had chosen it was basically a really big meat factory with some houses around it that looked all dark, probably nobody lived there. So after biking around for a bit we decided to pray again. And we both felt like we should go back to that other area we went to before. Then I told Pinzon shimai how I had felt like we should go there before but I ignored it. Don`t ignore promptings from the Spirit!! Don`t do it! So then we headed to that area and we didn`t have very much time left. But we parked our bikes and walked to the neighborhood we had chosen and the very first person we talked to was Midori san. And she totally listened to us. And we found out she works at the hospital. We talked about church and how we feel when we go there. She was totally open to coming and gave us her number and everything. All I can say is Heavenly Father`s ability to time things really blows my mind sometimes. So we still haven`t met with her again yet, but we`re hoping to set something up soon.
Now to our other person we found last week. Satoru san! We went back to his place and taught him a little about about the Savior and the apostasy because he asked some superb questions like `Why are there so many Christian churches?` Why let us answer that for you. However, his work schedule is really rough so he only has Monday and Tuesday nights free. But luckily our ward is doing a Family Home Evening tonight and the Tsuboi elders are inviting their investigators so we decided to invite Satoru san, and he can come!!! We`re so excited! He`s going to meet the members and have fun and he`ll definitely want to know more! At least that`s our plan for him.
We also finally got to teach Miyuki chan. She is a 17 year old investigator. Her life is crazy with school and work so I met her for the first time on Friday. She is so cool though. She prays and reads the Book of Mormon and comes to church when she can. Her parents are a little opposed though so she can`t be baptized as of right now. But she works so hard and does all the right things. She really is an amazing person. Almost as cool as our Relief Society president Kozuma shimai. She jointed for our lesson. Every time she opens her mouth to share her testimony the Spirit just hits you. She is an amazing woman. Her husband isn`t a member and one of her sons is less active. But she doesn`t let that stop her. She is always helping other people and the missionaries and sharing the gospel with coworkers and friends. I want to be like her someday.
And the best news! The Tsuboi elders had a baptism on Saturday!! Their investigator Ka san got baptized. He is from China but he`s going to college here in Kumamoto right now. His Japanese is WAAAY better than mine. But he`s really cool and has a lot of faith. I`ll send pictures at some point I promise.
There`s many more things I feel like I want to talk about but there`s no time! So for now, just know that finding with the Spirit is cool, and you all should try it!
Have a great week!
Malone Shimai

Nishino san was leaving for France so we got a picture with him.
(3rd from left in the back)

 Some of our Eikaiwa (English) students - they are awesome!!

Another picture with Nishino san (2nd from left)
Me and Yanagida choro are looking thoughtful...
I guess nobody else got the message!
P.S. I heard there`s going to be an Orem mission? Is that true?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Finding, finding, finding / Week #36

Konnichiwa minisan!
And Happy Birthday Jace!!! You`re 2!! You`re so old now!!!
This week was kind of sad as far as visiting investigators goes. Everyone was really busy with school or work or staying inside their house this week.
But we did teach an investigator named Murata san. She is really nice. She is in her 40s and has one daughter, and she is Buddhist. But she spent a year in England so her English is really good. But we still try to teach her in Japanese. Unless I can`t think of the word and then I give up and tell her in English. Why am I so weak? Okinawa you ruined me! Just kidding. So we taught her the Plan of Salvation and she understands really well, but the thing we are working on is helping her feel it. But she likes to remind us she is Buddhist so she believes differently. So we challenged her to pray and ask Heavenly Father if what we taught her is true. She said she will do it so we will see what her answer is next time. Unfortunately, next time is in another 3 weeks. But never fear! We`re missionaries so we like to suddenly drop in and share scriptures even when we don`t have an appointment!!
We`ve also been applying the training we received from the APs. That is to make appointments with God. So we decide the night before during planning where we want to go housing. We pray, then we look at the map of our area and pick a area, then a smaller section within that area. Then we tell Heavenly Father somebody that we would like to find in that area and we ask for his help. For instance, one night I said I wanted to find a young college student who had an interest in learning about Christ. So we went to the area the next day and after housing for an hour or so we knocked on a door and this young looking guy opened up. When I said we were sharing a message about Christ he didn`t close the door or say I`m good, he listened to our message! We talked to him for like 20 minutes, and at the end he even gave us snacks. Now that`s when you know you`ve found the one. They give you food. But anyways, we`re going to meet him again this week and tell him more. Yay for finding with the Spirit!
Also my new favorite thing is heart attacking members doors. It`s not that hard for us. We just cut out hearts and tape them on people`s doors, but both times we have done it the sister has called us or told us on Sunday how much they appreciated it. So an easy way to show people you care is to tape hearts on their door! Unless you don`t know them. Then it`s kind of weird (choto hen).
And my favorite random thing that happened this week. We were on our way to heart attack a members door when Pinzon shimai stopped to talk to this girl on the street and give her a chirashi/flyer. We found out she is from China, visiting in Japan for a month. She was trying to find out how to get to Kumamoto castle by train. She was speaking to us in Japanese in case you were wondering. Since we were right by the train station we decided to show her where to go. She needed to take the Kumamoto city tram so we actually went to the front of the station where there`s a stop. So she asked if she could take a picture with us and we said yes. It was a horrible picture by the way. We don`t look so great after biking around in the wind and cold. But anyways, I just loved that we were able to help a random Chinese girl find her way in Kumamoto. I want to have more experiences like that. Oh and don`t worry we totally gave her a flyer so someday she will find the church!
I hope everyone has a good week and remember to help people from foreign countries find their way if you see them!!
Malone Shimai